Browse Articles on the topic of Life After Divorce

Mother & daughter surviving co-parenting

3 Tips on How to Survive Co-Parenting

There is no chapter on “How to Survive Co-Parenting” in Baby and Childcare, the great medical classic on raising children written by Dr. Benjamin Spock in 1946. Nor is it anything to be expected in the more contemporary parenting guide of What to Expect When You are Expecting. The fact is most parents are not ever truly prepared when their first child arrives. They end up learning what parenting is “on the job.” They eventually come to understand that even with the full-time support of a devoted spouse, raising a child can be challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally – not to mention a drain on all kinds of other resources that you just can’t fathom by reading a book. But when divorce enters the picture, and parenting becomes “co-parenting” the challenges can become multifold. To survive it, to ensure your kids fare well, you must be mindful of what matters most.

3 Tips to Survive the Hardest Aspects of Co-Parenting

When you’re in a healthy marriage, you tend to put your relationship with your spouse on autopilot. However, all that changes after your divorce.

You need to carefully balance your relationship — with your child — along with your relationship with your ex-spouse, and you cannot take either for granted. This can get very messy and stressful.

Here are three ways to try to make it as smooth as possible.

1. Take the Long View

If you’re co-parenting it usually means your relationship with the other adult is well, “not the best”. It might be friendly, which is usually the best-case scenario, or it might be prickly and full of conflict, or anywhere in between.

One of the easiest ways to lessen the drama is to take the long view. Remember what your goal is.

What is your goal? Ask yourself right now. Is it to win? Or is it to minimize the impact on your kids so your children stand to heal as soon as possible over the divorce? If you said the latter, the irony is … you win!

Focusing on day-to-day disagreements such as squabbling about when your ex is five minutes late during an exchange or being completely inflexible about swapping days serves no real purpose. Look past the small mostly inconsequential problems and remember your goal is to do your part in raising a happy and healthy child.

2. Count to Ten

When taking the long view you focus on the end game, not the small skirmishes in between. Unfortunately, even as adults and parents, we too can get emotional. Sometimes those emotions get the better of us.

While it’s a better chance than not that you and your ex don’t see eye-to-eye on many matters and aren’t a good fit for one another, you still probably know each other very well. That means you know what each other likes and you know how to push one another’s buttons (Push, Push!) No, you must delete those thoughts.

It’s incredibly important to not respond to triggers or fall into traps your ex may lay. It’s not good for you and it’s not good for your child.

Don’t let your co-parent get under your skin, and when he inevitably does, follow the adage, count to ten. There’s nothing to gain from snapping or blowing up, and even if you get the better of him in that moment, it could do more harm than good over the long haul. It is likely your child saw it or will hear about it in some way.

Watch your speech and control your emotions and your child will see a great role model. Long term, your child will respect you for the way you conducted the split and ongoing relationship with her dad.

3. Appreciate What You Have

Life moves quickly. As soon as you have a child, your days seem to move even faster.

Sometimes when following the advice above, of taking the long view and focusing on the end game, it’s possible to go a little too far. Spend a little time to appreciate what is right in front of you. This. Very. Minute.

As quickly as life is moving, your child is growing up even faster. Instead of getting into a never-ending tug-of-war with your ex over time splits, try to enjoy the time you have with your child.

And, it’s also equally important to know that your child will in most circumstances have a healthier upbringing if they get to spend time with both parents. So, trying to wrestle him away from you ex, whether as a way to punish your ex, or for some other reason, is likely not in the best interest on your child.

Instead of spending your time fighting and doing whatever you can to get more time with your child, spend that time and energy actually enjoying the time that is available. Savor the moments. Focus on what you will do, what you can do. Make it meaningful. It doesn’t have to be gilded with spending a lot of money. It might just mean reading aloud to your kid or going for a walk or a bike ride. Simple is best sometimes.

In Summary

Parenting one or more children under one roof is as trying as it is satisfying. But, if you and their other parent are no longer together, it can make raising them and enjoying your life that much harder.

To survive and enjoy your life as a co-parent, it takes a bit of a balancing. It’s important to enjoy the day-to-day time you have with your child, but you also want to focus on the end game of raising a happy and healthy individual. When you do that, it helps you minimize the conflict. It puts the best things first and it gives everybody perspective.

Co-parenting isn’t easy, but it is possible by finding out whatever it takes … are you up for the challenge?

 

Tim Backes is the senior editor for Custody X Change, a parenting plan and custody calendar software solution. Along with providing co-parents software to help create and manage custody agreements, Custody X Change provides free co-parenting information as well as a scholarship for single parents.

Woman in satin slip with no rings

When Do You Sell Your Wedding Ring? And How?

Frustrated … or ecstatically done? Maybe you are strapped and desperate for cash? No matter the scenario, you are in good company if you are wondering, “When …how …. where do I sell my wedding ring?”

There might be an urgency to your question. You are probably yearning to put the past behind you … TO MOVE ON. Or, and let’s not kid ourselves, there’s often the practical real–life necessity of “Let me get some value from that *#$@!*& thing!” All these feelings and needs we know well both as divorce coaches and women who have been right where you are. But it is your needs and feelings that must be genuinely considered … if you are really, truly interested in the right answer.

Are you interested in the right answer? When do you sell your wedding ring?

Then hold on before you start fantasizing about the how, where, and how much you will get for it, because it’s worth taking you through the paces that bring you to the question.

Selling Your Wedding Ring: The Emotional Component

First, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Are you really ready to part with your wedding ring?
  2. Are you really done with your relationship?

If you answered YES without hesitation, then by all means scroll down to “The Practical Steps of Selling Your Wedding Ring.” If you paused, then keep reading. Your wedding ring is of course, a symbol of your union or what your union was. It represents (and possibly, might still) all your hopes and dreams. Your Happily Ever After.

Have you really done everything to save — which means work — on your marriage?

No doubt you’ve done some things. But to make sure, check out our suggestions in 36 Things to Do if You are Thinking about Divorce just to make sure you’re not embarking out of haste or making this enormous life decision from an explosive or depressed place. It’s not easy to divorce, nor should it be. You’ll want to be sure (well, as much as you can be — refer to step number 29 in 36 Things.)

Already Divorced?

You may no longer be married, but still holding on, holding on to that ring, the jingle, the jangle, the pearl necklace, the pin he gave you from your first trip away together. They are all kept safe in that special satin-lined box you keep hidden in your lingerie drawer. You might be feeling guilty, or simply not ready to say goodbye to them. Because on some level it would mean saying goodbye to your dreams. You are in mourning, and Sister, mourning is a complicated thing.

  1. Are you still, or just now starting to come to terms with everything you have lost?
  2. Are you still feeling the pain and trying to understand what’s brought you to being single all over again?

Make no apologies – to yourself or to anyone else! Just understand. This stage of divorce recovery is fraught with people wanting the best for you, wanting you to “get over it,” but not quite understanding you. Indeed, YOU may not be understanding you right now. Allow yourself to be where you are. For if there’s one thing you’ve earned now on the other side of the divorce paperwork, it’s the right to be calling your own shots. If you are not ready to part with your ring, DO NOT. Take a few steps on our divorce recovery stairway and learn what else you can do to heal and begin to live again.

The Practical Steps of Selling Your Wedding Ring

Alright, alright, you say, you don’t want to hear any more about leave-taking or mourning. In fact you skipped those paras because you’ve got bigger fish to fry, like paying off your legal fees, the credit card debt, or taking that longed-for trip to Phuket. You’ve always heard that you could flip your ring … or that “Jewelry is a good investment.” So surely this ring that has kept you lassoed in place this long has got to be worth something? Right?

 

Where do you sell your wedding ring? How much can you get?

First, let’s get clear: it’s likely not your wedding ring that is worth selling so much as it is your engagement ring. But here’s the bracing cold fact behind that: the value of your jewelry, and in particular your engagement ring, is likely not worth what you think it is. Yes, we know. We hate being the bearer of bad news … someone probably paid a lot for it. But the price paid for your ring reflected the design, the brand, the artistry, and time involved in creating it. When you go to resell, buyers are only interested in the value of the stones and metals. Not your ring in toto.

Sigh, if you like. You are safe with us. But then be smart and savvy about trying to get as much for those stones and metal as you can!

Follow these steps to sell your ring

1) Have your ring graded

While we are all for supporting your village tradesman and local economy, if you walk into your local jeweler you are hostage to what s/he says your diamonds and gold are and what they may be worth. The best is to have your ring graded by a GIA or IGI-certified jeweler so you learn and document the real characteristics of the stones and metal before you try to sell. (Note: the proper word is “graded” and not “appraised.” An appraisal is used for insurance purposes only and is not a resell market price.) Learning the true facts about your ring is the first step to understanding its value.

 

2) Decide what is worth your time

Once you know the size, the cut, the color, and the clarity of your diamond, you are better prepared to figure out what is worth your while. Maybe if the stones are not as valuable as you’d hope, you will do nothing or you’ll repurpose them into something you actually like? Or you will sell them to the jeweler or pawnshop that will give you the most for them? If the latter, shop around for the best offer.

 

3) If your center stone is 1.0 carat (ct.) or more, it’s in your interest to find a legitimate resource for reselling

Go ahead and search the web. Ultimately, we recommend the online jeweler and auction house Worthy. Their process is simple, insured, and extremely convenient. We know because we’ve tried it. Plus you get a GIA-certified grading report for your diamond, whether or not your ring is successfully auctioned off.

Again, we stress the value of the grading report. No one can take advantage of you if you have that, because you know your stone’s real value as stated by an Industry authority, not a store report.

 

4) Here’s how it works if you wanted to go the Worthy way

Go to Worthy.com and enter the information you know about your ring. (They are also interested in your branded watches, by the way.) Provide them with the information you know or believe to be the size, the cut, the clarity of your jewelry or stone, your name, and email. It is okay if you do not know the actual characteristics yet, just put in what you think. Within a day Worthy will email you, based on the information you provided, an estimated market value for your piece.

 

5) If you choose to follow through with putting the ring up for auction, Worthy helps you coordinate and schedule the shipping using Fed Ex/Brinks

The process is fully insured and Worthy pays for all the shipping and also insures the item for up to 1 million dollars. Yes. Really.

 

6) Once Worthy receives your item in their New York City office, they will clean, professionally photograph and work with GIA or IGI to grade and obtain an e-grading report for your stone. Then you decide.

Again, you get the report. Now you know the facts of your ring and can make a fact-based decision on what you want the minimum bid to be. You can even set a “buy it now” price, too. All along Worthy will advise you. Because, of course, they want you to be successful in selling your ring. (They get a cut!) But you are in control of your pricing – another reason we like Worthy.

 

7) How long will it take and how much does Worthy make?

To give you an idea of the speed involved, it takes about a week. Within seven days of receiving your item, Worthy lists your piece, potentially sells it, and deposits your profits within 24 hours. For this, Worthy takes 20 percent of the sale price. This is very clear and upfront. If they don’t sell your item for at least the minimum price, they send it back to you, free of charge. With the GIA-certification.

Click on this button for a free estimate of your wedding ring from Worthy

Check them out. Worthy has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and their website is easy to use. You can also read dozens of reviews and video testimonials from other, happy and lighter-feeling women — like “E.D.P.,”a client of ours who wrote in to tell us yesterday …. “I was really nervous but Worthy was great! They got a great price for my ring ;-)”

If you are ready, we think you stand to gain a lot: you get a grading report … and the best price for the least amount of energy devoted to the project. And with all you have been through? We think your projects should be kept to a minimum, especially when it comes to designing your new life. There’s one more detail we like too: if you are able to sell your piece to another jeweler for a price higher than what was offered in Worthy’s auction, Worthy will pay you 100 bucks. Nice.

 

 

 

 

Returning to Work: The 40-Year-Old Intern

Does the concept of returning to work paralyze you?

Did you stay home to raise your children, care for your parents or recover from your own personal health issue And now, as you think about returning to work, you wonder what can you possibly do? Watch iRelaunch CEO and Co-founder, Carol Fishman Cohen’s TED Talk and learn why and how employers are starting to recognize you. That’s right. YOU. You are not alone. You can join thousands of other women and restart!

Carol Fishman Cohen is CEO and co-founder of iRelaunch, a comprehensive career reentry resource for employers, individuals, universities and professional associations. Cohen has been on a dual mission for nearly 15 years: to elevate the profile and champion the success of professionals returning to the workforce after a career break, and to educate and support employers that engage with return-to-work talent. Her goal is to normalize the career path that includes a career break and document successful transitions back into the workforce so that employers understand the value proposition that returning professionals provide.

Cohen is the co-author of career reentry strategy book Back on the Career Track and a returning professional herself. Her return to work at Bain Capital after 11 years out of the full-time workforce is documented in a Harvard Business School case study. She has connected with thousands of professionals who have successfully returned to work after a hiatus, and she has engaged with hundreds of hiring managers to understand their perspectives on hiring people returning from career break.

iRelaunch’s flagship event, the annual iRelaunch Return-to-Work Conference in New York City, is the leading external source of candidates for the major Wall Street reentry internship programs and is the largest and longest-running dedicated career reentry event in the United States. Cohen has been tracking career reentry programs of all types since 2008 and writes a series of articles for Harvard Business Review on the theme “The 40-Year-Old Intern.” She originated and co-leads the Society of Women Engineers/iRelaunch STEM Reentry Task Force, an initiative to increase the pipeline of female engineers via reentry internship programs at STEM sector companies.

 

Anger after divorce

Axe the Anger After Divorce in 4 Steps

Step 1: Buy Crazy Glue. For many of us, all joking aside, contending with the feelings, and in particular, anger after divorce is an ongoing miserable reality. Divorce and its legions of emotions disrupt everything you know and (used to?) hold sacred in your world. No, your marriage was never supposed to end up this way! Yes, you have every right to be angry about it. But you really don’t want to be that bitter, angry person forever. That woman is not really you.

Anger is the very natural feeling in divorce as you break from your past (or are forced to against your will) and prepare for an uncertain future.

If you are still steaming, swearing, venting, struggling with your anger after divorce, we get it. We felt it. And now, we want to help you. Here are four steps to take to release your anger in a productive way:

 

#1 Renew Your Surroundings

Everything you see reminds you of the Old Days. People, places, things. Each time you see, smell, hear, or feel something from those days you get flat out MAD. (Why? Why did divorce, wait, let’s start with your mate! Why did HE have to come along and ruin your life?) Well, don’t let your surroundings make you any angrier. Move stuff around. Throw things out.  Give things away. Switch it up!

Check out the KonMari Method of decluttering like the goddess you are. Pick up a copy of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo and start asking yourself does every item you own “Bring you joy?” You’ll be able to remove everything from your surroundings that invokes anger or reminds you of your ex, your past life, your divorce. Free yourself of this cluttering, cloying, anger-inducing “stuff” and the emotions it conjures up.

#2 Refresh Yourself

Once you’ve purged everything around you that reminds you of him and triggers all that anger, it’s time to focus on yourself. Begin with your inside and focus on the reasons why you are so very angry. Ways to do this include:

  • Go to a therapist, preferably one who is experienced with divorce, and not the same one you went to if you tried marriage counseling, as this could trigger emotions just being in the same office.
  • Speak with a divorce coach who is an expert in dealing with anger issues during and post-divorce. Certified coaches understand what you are going through and can provide tried-and-true action steps to help you move out of that negative space.
  • Start journaling. Write down how you are feeling every day to process through your grief, anger and sadness. By talking to yourself via pen and paper you give yourself the freedom to say exactly how you feel without any judgment or regret. Let it rip, there!
  • Go to a meditation workshop or a hot yoga session. Each of these activities prescribe a meditation system that will help you focus on the happiness inside of you.
  • If you have a wonderful friend or close connection with a family member lean on their shoulders when you are in crisis mode. Vent your troubles and frustration with someone safe.

The goal is to find support and a way to re-channel your anger, whether through talking to someone or being totally silent in order to let your emotions go.

#3 Clear Your Ex From Social Media

Washing him out of your hair is not enough! Delete, delete, delete that ex from your social media pictures, postings, and friends’ lists. Get rid of these artifacts completely so you aren’t reminded of him when on social media. Check out the KillSwitch app. This app deletes your ex from everything on your Facebook profile.

No more going through your gushy pics from the golden days. No more worrying about comments from the ex reemerging after months. No more fear of those timeline pics popping up years from now to remind you of the Old Days. Wall posts, videos, status updates, pictures…gone for good when you make the kill with KillSwitch. It’ll feel oh so good to take this step!

#4 Avoid Future Arguments

Choose your battles. Whether fighting about custody or financial accounts, everything has its place. You may not want to give a little in any area, but you can’t fight about everything just for the sake of fighting. You’ve probably heard this but do it now: Pick the areas that mean the most to you, and use your energy to fight those battles. Let the others slide and avoid conflict just for the sake of the fight. Be the better person. Avoid activities such as hiring a private detective to spy on your ex or stalking or sneaking around after him yourself. Doing this is only going to make you angrier. Trust us on this. Take the upper ground and steer clear of activities that prolong your pain. As Queen Elsa would say, you want to learn to let it go.

You have the power to choose otherwise. You don’t have to live with anger after divorce … not when there are so many OTHER beautiful things to live with. Learn a few in a free session with SAS for Women.

hands holding a sign that says "Do something today that your future self will thank you for"

Divorce and Life Insurance: 5 Critical Things to Know

When you are setting up your new life during a divorce, life insurance may not be the most pressing thing on your mind (ahem, we suspect it’s not on your mind at all!) and yet it plays a crucial role. Many of us don’t understand life insurance, nor recognize how necessary it is for protecting us in the future. It’s especially important to understand how divorce and life insurance go hand in hand before you finish negotiating your divorce settlement. We will give you a quick “Life Insurance 101” here, but you’ll definitely want to consult with a vetted insurance broker to make sure you have optimized your plans for the future.

What is life insurance and why do I need it?

If you are working and supporting a family, it’s important to have life insurance coverage. If you should pass away unexpectedly and the income your family relies on is suddenly no longer there … well, you see the problem. Life insurance would provide your family money to essentially replace what you would have made in salary. There are basically two kinds:

Term: This is for a designated number of years (10, 20, 30, etc.) If you pass away while term life is in effect, your beneficiary (ies) will collect the money in a lump sum. It’s a “use it or lose it” sort of policy.

Permanent: This policy is for a lifetime (and usually significantly more expensive). There are different types of permanent insurance including universal and whole. Which one you choose depends entirely on your needs and situation. (Again it’s best to talk with an insurance professional to decide.).

Why do divorce and life insurance go hand in hand?

If you are relying on maintenance (alimony) and/or child support payments from your ex to make ends meet, what would you do if something unexpectedly happened to him and he passed away? Getting a life insurance policy on your ex ensures that you would be able to manage financially should something happen to him. By the same token, if you are working, having life insurance on yourself ensures that you would be leaving your family with some money to replace your salary, should something happen to you.

On a related topic — please forgive our bluntness — what if one or both of you don’t die but get hurt badly enough that you can no longer work and earn a living? You should know that life insurance does not help in that situation. In that case you need to have something called “disability insurance”, another type of insurance you really need to understand and consider having in your divorce settlement. Disability insurance is essentially the same thing but it helps in the event of illness or injury. For the purpose of this article we’ll stick to divorce and life insurance (and address disability insurance in a later article).

So what are the 5 critical things to know about divorce and life insurance?

5 info boxes on divorce and life insurance

Design: Ashley Nakai

1. Securing life insurance does not happen quickly.

Life insurance takes some time (several weeks to months) to secure, so it’s important that you start the conversation early in your divorce negotiations. The insurance company needs time to evaluate your case in order to determine if they will offer you coverage and at what rate. This is based on your medical history (medical records or a physical exam may be needed) and your financial history (they may request a current credit report or financial statements for example).

2. You need the right amount of insurance.
The amount of protection you need must be evaluated by a pro. Your attorney will make suggestions based on spousal and/or child support to help you protect yourself and your family from the unforeseen. However, it’s always wise to consult with a good insurance broker to hear their professional estimates.

It’s important to consider other factors, such as your current income, earning capability and your current and future financial needs of the family. A trained insurance broker can help you think about other considerations such as education funding and retirement and pension considerations … things your attorney may not consider but may make a big difference in your situation.

3. You have to figure out how long you will be required to keep it.
You will negotiate into your divorce settlement how long you and/or your spouse are required to carry the coverage, which is why it’s important to get educated before the divorce document is signed. Again, it’s best to not simply reply on what your lawyer says but to diversify your knowledge base by talking with your insurance broker.

4. You will need to decide on a beneficiary.
The beneficiary is the person you designate to receive the money should death occur. Who the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) is should be predetermined in your divorce settlement. It’s also important to be specific in the policy about who owns it, who is required to pay the premiums, and who is allowed to change the beneficiary should the need arise.

5. It’s important to compare policies and prices.
Do not simply go with the cheapest rate (or allow your ex to talk you into that) because it’s important to understand what the policy provides for you and that, should anything happen, the company will take good care of you and the kids. This is not something you can just Google. You need a neutral party — a trained insurance consultant — to do that homework for you and present you with options.

We know, it seems a little grim to be talking about people dying or getting sick or injured but the reality is, we don’t know what life will throw at us. We doubt you saw the divorce in your future, back when you got married, so we don’t want you to be naïve as you negotiate your divorce settlement. This settlement is your financial future near and far, well into your retirement. Thinking about divorce and life insurance is a very strategic way to provide for your family now, should things take a turn later.

Did this article bring up questions for you? Jot them down and contact insurance expert, Lisa Horowitz, CLU, ChFC, who for nearly 30 years, has been dedicated to helping women understand how insurance can help them in every area of life including divorce, business and estate planning, retirement, life-altering illness, and caring for elderly parents. If you mention SAS for Women, Lisa will talk to you for 30 minutes for free, no matter which state in the USA you live. You can reach her at (718) 352-1311 or lhorowitz@insureclue.com

A woman in midlife smiling while standing out of doors.

Life After Divorce? It’s Going to Be Better Than You Imagined!

Saying goodbye to a marriage is tough. When you get a divorce your entire life changes. From finances, to parenting, to even loneliness, there are a lot of hurdles to get over, but in the end, remember this: you are getting a divorce for a reason, and life moving forward, your life after divorce, is going to be better than you imagined it could be.

Remember Why You Are Getting a Divorce

In order to move forward and enjoy your new life as a single woman, it is important to remember why you and your spouse are separating in the first place.  Now, we are not talking about dwelling on all the bad stuff and getting stuck in the past, but giving yourself permission to look forward to your future without your mate.

When Janice was newly divorced she concentrated so much on what she was missing (someone to talk her day over with; someone to share her hopes and dreams with; someone to help pay the bills –and take out the trash), that she began to romanticize the marriage she had loved.

“Lucky for me I had a good friend who shook away those “fake memories” and reminded me of the reasons why my husband and I split.  Despite my faulty memory, all was not rosy in our relationship and if I was ever going to find the kind of fulfilling marriage I dreamed about, I was going to have to move past that relationship and open myself up to another, hopefully better, one.”

Until you acknowledge what went wrong in your marriage, not only will you thwart your efforts at new happiness, but you will set the stage for a repeat performance and doom your next relationship to failure too.

Life After Divorce Does Offer Some Benefits 

Being alone for a while (even a long while) isn’t a bad thing. Many women discover life after divorce to be a freeing experience. Even when money is tight, and the struggles of single parenting are exhausting, the benefits of being alone can be more than worth the downsides you experience. Here are just a few things single, liberated women have reported after their divorce:

  1. Peace.  Life pre-divorce can be chaotic and stressful. While separating may be hard on both of you, staying together is often worse. If your marriage has dissolved into fits of anger and frustration, going your separate ways can often restore peace to your home – and your soul. Leaving a marriage may add some temporary chaos to your days, but once the split is final, your life can resume at a more peaceful level.
  2. Living Life for Themselves. For many women, divorce offers them the chance to concentrate on themselves for a change. Tending to be caregivers and “fixers” in a relationship, women often shortchange themselves when stuck in a bad relationship. Once they break free of the marriage, they allow themselves the opportunity to seek a job change; new hobby; lifestyle change; etc.
  3. Income. “While my income was half what it has been when I was married, I soon discovered that without my spouse’s spending, my income was enough to give me what I really wanted – peace of mind,” says Diane. Always a thrifty person, she discovered that living in a smaller apartment and driving an older car didn’t bother her at all. “I suddenly had the freedom to use my money the way I saw fit and that was exhilarating!”
  4. Less Mess.  For Pam, life after divorce meant finally having a clean house. “My ex was a real slob. Once he was gone I soon discovered that my house remained clean and I loved it. Not that a messy home isn’t worth the right partner, but having to constantly clean up after someone you don’t like much anymore sure wasn’t worth it.”
  5. More Time. Married women (especially those with kids) are expected to do it all: work; raise a family; keep a tidy home; volunteer; do all the errands; and more. For some, leaving a marriage actually offers them more free time. Listen to what Renee had to say. “I was terrified of being on my own with the kids. How was I going to get it all done when I was struggling before my divorce to manage my life? But once my husband moved out, I began to see how much I had done for him (and how little he did for me). My schedule didn’t change all that much, and then the weekend came and the kids went to spend it with their dad. I had not had a weekend free to do whatever I wanted in years! I know I am lucky because my ex-husband is a great dad and takes our kids virtually every weekend. This gives me the chance to catch up on things around the house; take a nap; or even go out with friends. The best thing about my divorce: I have more free time to myself.
  6. Becoming Friends Again. In some cases, living apart can help couples become friends again. Just because you aren’t married does not mean you have to be enemies. This can be especially important for those with children.

Getting a divorce isn’t meant as a way to ditch your responsibilities and start a whole new life. But, it can take a chaotic life and make it easier to manage.  For some women, moving beyond their marriage offers them the chance to pursue their dreams; travel the world; or simply relax again. Life isn’t meant to be spent in constant chaos. When it is time for a divorce, don’t consider it a failure, but rather a learning experience. Take what lessons you can from your marriage and your divorce and move forward towards a new beginning. Don’t wallow in defeat, but rather race toward victory. After all, in your life after divorce you are free to pursue any future you want. So get out there and enjoy yourself! You deserve it.

Whether you are considering divorce or already navigating the experience and aftermath of divorce, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do divorce alone. Smart women around the world have chosen SAS For Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oft times complicated experience of Divorce.

festive party outside

Divorce Recovery: Cocktail Parties & “Can’t Miss” Financial Opportunities

You’re in that divorce recovery place — post-settlement, but still navigating your newly found independence, when the invitation arrives, by old-school snail mail, e-mail, or text. You’re excited, you’re invited to a cocktail party!

You start thinking about how much fun you will have, or what the might night hold … the party’s unusual location … who you will meet … and the dress you might wear, or what you might “have to buy”.

It’s natural that when the evening comes you’re a little nervous. You’ve not been out a lot by your single self. No matter, you take a breath. You are ready to enjoy the festivities, the music, the people. Things get rolling after you arrive and you’re into your fun evening with friends and new friends. You’re chatting about happenings around town, where to go on your next vacation maybe, or a new restaurant serving quinoa in a new and novel way. There’s talk about the latest must read novel, gotta see movie or Broadway show when it happens. Someone starts talking about an unusual investment opportunity.

Money talk is the last thing you expect to be talking about, or even listening to, but there you are. Face to face with someone you’ve never met who has introduced himself and who seemingly can’t stop talking about a “can’t miss” investment. He’s suggesting you should get in on the ground floor and ride it to the top. You realize you are not the only one listening. Others around, others you respect, are actually nodding their heads in agreement with this new acquaintance.

So you’re here on your own and checking in with yourself. You may be a stay-at-home mom, a Fortune 500 executive or a small business owner. You may be someone used to having a spouse with whom you talked about household and personal finances, or someone who has never participated in the management of household expenses, let alone any kind of investment situation. Now you’re facing someone asking you to make a financial decision that can impact your future. Is this scary? Tempting? Many think it is, and rightly so.

How do you respond to this situation?

  • You could say it’s time for another drink and try to slip away
  • Say, “Look over there!” And disapear like they do in the movies
  • Or, you could say, “Let’s talk about it another time after I look over the company materials”
  • Or, you could say, “I’m not ruling it out but would like to talk it over with my team of financial advisors”
  • Another idea is to ask, “What is the expertise you have that makes you so sure this will succeed? What are the materials you looked at to help you form this opinion?”
  • Or, you might pose this question, “What business experience does the founder have? And how successful were her/his previous ventures?”

Do you run and hide? Or do you “attack”? Which is better for you? Only you can decide. However a good part of your decision may be based on how much risk there is and whether or not you can afford to make and lose an investment in a new public or privately owned company.

Today, when everyone knows someone who is developing a “hot” and “amazing” new app … or the next best thing to hit the web … or a product that everyone “must have,” deciding to invest $1,000, $10,000, $100,000, or millions should be based on a sound financial plan developed with your team of financial advisors.

You’ve probably learned this already, this advanced in your divorce recovery: A team of financial advisors is one or more persons who may include your certified public accountant (CPA), certified financial (divorce) planner (CFP or CDFP), attorney, investment advisor at your securities firm, trusted family member, or dear friend with financial experience, etc. Your team, comprised of diverse experts offering varied feedback, can help you evaluate:

  • Your ability to afford an investment
  • The risk of making an investment
  • Comparison of this “can’t miss” investment with traditional investments
  • The short term and long term possibilities regarding this investment and when your investment may be returned and what the cash earnings on the investment may be.

So while it may be very attractive, exciting even to invest with your friends or family just because they are doing so, or because you feel compelled to follow along, you can do the savvy thing. You can respond with a list of questions to ask company management, and you can request and review company financial materials with the help of your financial advisors. You’ve come this far in your divorce recovery, don’t succumb to relinquishing control over your life and your future now. With your team you can put together a plan that not only helps you make sound financial decisions but also shows those around you that they need the same information to make their own smart financial decisions.

Bruce Balsam, CPA, MS is a partner at Elliot Horowitz & Company, LLP a Certified Public Accounting firm located in New York City. As Director of Tax Services he helps clients manage their tax filings and develop financial plans to keep their tax liabilities as low as possible. Clients often ask him and his partners for help starting a new business, evaluating investments and investment opportunities, evaluating insurance needs and planning for future expenses such as college tuition and retirement. In addition Bruce’s firm has professionals and support staff available to help with bill payments and other daily household needs. For your complimentary appointment to review your situation and answer questions, contact Bruce at 212.972.7500, ext 106 or email him.

 

Metaphor for divorce recovery

Divorce Recovery: 10 Things to Do if Suddenly in Charge of Your Finances

Are you somewhere in your divorce recovery, facing your fear — the sudden, terrifying reality of managing your money?

Or, are you a brave woman saying, “It’s time to get real and start acting on behalf of myself!”? No matter what brings you to this point, a split, a divorce, or the fact that you are suddenly single, first thing – take a deep breath! There are many who have come before you, many who have taught themselves how to get out of this dark place of disempowerment. They’ve successfully navigated full divorce recovery, they’ve successfully broken from their past and it’s patterns, to become fully empowered women. Embrace this idea — that you are not alone — and accept the learning process. It’s the beginning of your showing yourself just what you can do.

After you’ve considered this learning process, let’s roll up our sleeves so to speak and discuss where to begin:

1. Get organized.

Start your divorce recovery, your new, financial “taking over” by understanding what you have TODAY. Just like setting your GPS before starting a road trip, knowing where you are today is key to planning out where to go next. Start by collecting reports such as bank statements, recent tax returns, insurance policies, retirement accounts and estate and trust documents. You will soon see why you need this step and the importance of maintaining your incoming data. Take this time to create a list of passwords and log on instructions to sites that involve the financial items listed above. Keep this newly minted list in a safe place, but make sure someone you trust knows where it is, too.

“If you don’t know where you are how do you know where you’re going?”

2. Define your goals.

Once you know where you are (YOU ARE HERE on the map), identifying your goals will give you the destinations. Allow yourself to dream big with goals like owning that summer cabin by the lake, or traveling around the world without a budget, to the more realistic goals such as “I want MONEY for a down payment”, or “I want to have a fun life when I retire — how much money will I need?” Knowing your goals will give you parameters and focus on how to move forward. Knowing your goals directs you to where you need to go.

3. Know what you OWN.

Sounds simple, but do you know where every items, asset or thing that you own or has your name on it is kept? How is it titled? What is it’s value, and how do you access it? If your answer is, “Umm, I’m not sure,” you’ve just reinforced your vital need to go through this process. Refer again to Step 1 and list the assets you have. The more precise your statements and documents are, the more accurate this part of the equation (as well as steps 4, 5 and 6) will be.

4. Know what you OWE.

Again, what accounts have your name attached to them, meaning you are obligated to pay back monies that were borrowed to maybe, buy a house? What credit cards are issued to you? Car loans? Student loans that are yours or that you co-signed? Do you know what each debt charges you in interest? Do you know when you have to pay it back? Again, “Umm, I am not sure” is not the answer you want. The good news is, you are going to change this.

5. Know what you are spending money on and how much.

EXPENSES include both the essentials as well as the discretionary which is best looked at as the stuff you spend money on that you can live without or change when push comes to shove. Services such as doing your nails yourself versus having them done, or cutting back on new shoe acquisitions are just two examples. Although I know to some they are mandatory purchases, let’s face it, if you really have to cut back temporarily, these really are discretionary and not mandatory. Learn to hold yourself accountable for separating out the “must-pays” from the “I can cut this expense for now” when calculating your cash flow. There may need to be some short-term compromises as you get your financial house in order. And that’s all right. You can do this.

6. Know what you are earning.

INCOME can come from several sources, not just your job. So don’t forget to list interest income from investments, possible royalties from work sold in the past, residual income, and others.

7. Know how much risk is right for you.

Try to recall how you reacted to market changes in the past. When you heard on the news that the market corrected or crashed by X% did you react by crying out “I can’t lose another dollar or I’ll be living out of a shoebox!” or did you call your broker and say “buy, buy, buy!” Your reaction to these corrections will help you assess how much risk your portfolios can tolerate. Since you may be feeling some anxiety set in right about now, I may suggest that you arrange to meet with a recommended financial advisor who can look at your financial story and help you take your next best steps.

8. Be tax smart.

Create an environment of teamwork between your accountant and your financial advisor so that together your investments and taxes are aligned to pursue more efficient returns. Begin by making sure each one has the other’s name and email address. Encourage them to connect.

9. Avoid common investor pitfalls.

Try not to panic at every news cycle or market change by switching course within your portfolio. In other words, second guessing yourself and your team will invariably mean you’ll buy high and sell low which is exactly the opposite of what you want to do.

10. Get involved with the pros.

Meet at least quarterly with your financial advisor, who should be a fiduciary. This term means he or she is structured in a practice that is meant to have your best interest at the core of her/his advice. In other words, getting commissions paid out is not the priority, aligning your needs is. Working for you and with you should be the goal. You are on the right track with the right advisor if s/he asks you a lot of questions, not just about now, but those long term goals, answers your questions with patience, and is willing to educate you no matter how silly you think your question is.

Finding the best financial advisor for you and your needs — one who understands you as a woman in the crossroads of your life — will give you the sense of security you need as you move forward another step in your divorce recovery and your new, exciting, second chapter.

For a free consultation with Ronit who specializes in helping women financially untangle the chaos of life transitions, call her at 516.596.8581, email her directly at ronit@womenaws.com or check out her website. 

Rogoszinski may transact securities business with residents of the following states: CA, CT, FL, NJ, NY, to have you engaged, asking questions and learning how to best manage your financial house as a part of your overall life. Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. Member FINRA & SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. *LPL Financial does not offer legal or tax advice.

rainbow painted escalator steps

46 Steps to Ensure Your Divorce Recovery

Divorce Recovery

Divorce recovery describes the all encompassing process of emotional and practical restructuring and healing throughout the phases of divorce. It is a constant, cyclical process in which you are broken down and built back up numerous times until finally, you are whole again. Divorce recovery is painful, yes, but it is also an opportunity.

Steps you can take

Based on our background in education and our divorce recovery practice, we’ve identified three phases of divorce (contemplating, navigating, and recovering) and suggest the following concrete steps you can take throughout them to best ensure your full divorce recovery. As you complete each step you will be one step closer to your reconnection with self, independence, and true healing.

No matter what phase you are in, if you are mindful of your divorce recovery, our advice to you is…

  1. Accept that it’s okay right now to not have all the answers. Your job is to begin to study and learn what is possible for your life.
  2. Understand that you are grieving (or you will be, at some point) and that this is your own, unique divorce recovery path. Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind.  While you may not feel you are grieving the loss of the person you divorced (you may actually be happy about that) you will likely grieve the loss of hopes and dreams that you had for your life. It’s a confusing time, because at the heart of grief is a mixture of emotions. You might feel incredibly free and exhilarated one moment, lonely and terrified the next, and hollow or despairing the next. This is the nature of grief, and it’s necessary to acknowledge ALL of those feelings as normal and acceptable.
  3. Forgive yourself if you are scared. It’s to be expected. You didn’t major in “divorce” in college. How can you possibly know what your life after divorce might mean?
  4. Appreciate that divorce recovery takes time. While nobody knows exactly how long (some researchers say 17 months, others insist it’s three to five years) we know that to advance through the divorce recovery process it requires intention. You must do something. (Check! You are reading this list now!) It’s far less about signing the divorce decree than it is about recovering a sense of homeostasis and positivity.
  5. Help your children along their divorce recovery path by getting educated and taking action for you and them. At times your children might surprise you with their maturity and resilience. Other times they’re so angry or withdrawn it worries you. Understand your children’s recovery path is not the same as yours. They are not going to see or feel the same things as you. Read books (for you, and to them). Look for more resources, like your children’s school or a child therapist, to help you understand how your children are coping and recovering from the divorce. Learn the difference between what is appropriate and what requires your immediate attention.
  6. Be careful in whom you confide – this includes family.  Few people can be objective, and fewer still are marriage or divorce experts. Yet, there are plenty of opinions and judgements. Just because your neighbor got burned by his ex, however, does not mean that’s what’s in store for you.
  7. At the same time, don’t isolate yourself. This is not the time to try and figure it out alone. The decisions to make are too big and too important. This is a good time to invest in your divorce recovery by surrounding yourself with people skilled in helping you.
  8. Connect with your friend(s). You need support, understanding, and accountability.  You need someone who will listen and suspend his/her own judgment. You might need practical things too, like someone to watch the kids when you have appointments or you need space to simply clear your head.
  9. Avoid making any radical decisions for at least a year after your divorce.  The self-discovery curve is too steep during your divorce recovery. Chances are you are going to learn things you don’t know about yourself. So give yourself some time before you move to Tahiti. You may end up wishing you’d just moved down the street.
  10. Make a list of your most critical practical questions. Where and how should you live would certainly be one of them. Is it better to keep the house, or sell it and rent? Who is going to care for the house or the car, or the laundry for that matter when your ex is gone? How can you get a job if you need to be home with the kids?
  11. Make a list of your most critical financial questions. Do you know where you stand today? What are your assets? How much debt do you have? What are your near and far term financial goals? How do you get a job if you are facing your fifties?  (You will see some questions live on multiple lists.)
  12. Make a list of your most critical legal questions. Maybe you are finished with the divorce but you must put a new will in place, or now, you’ve just been named Power of Attorney for your aging mother. What does that mean?
  13. Make a list of your emotional concerns. What are your fears? Is it the prospect of being alone? Is it how your divorce will hurt your kids? Do you worry you might burn out your friends, because you sound like a whiny, broken record? Write these down.
  14. Reach out for professional, compassionate support. There are a lot of resources for divorce these days. The thing you should know first and foremost, you should not try to do this alone. A certified divorce coach can help you before, during, and/or after the divorce (and no, talking to one does not mean you are necessarily getting divorced). This professional can help you with many of the questions keeping you up at night (Can you afford a divorce? How do you break the news to the kids? How will you cope when your ex has the kids?) and he/she can definitely help you identify your choices (Is mediation right for you? What financial preparations should you have in place for living independently?).  A good divorce coach can also help you take your next best steps (How do you learn to co- parent effectively? Go back to work? Change jobs? Will you have the capacity to ever love again?)
  15. Seek to get educated on what’s possible for you. Ask friends or professionals you trust for referrals. Look for experts who can help you answer all your questions. Consider working with those pros (lawyers, real estate brokers, financial, or career advisors) who understand divorce recovery and the rebuilding process, and who seem willing and patient to teach you — and not just talk at you.
  16. Make a list of your other, helping professionals. What other professionals do you need to speak to, if not now, eventually? Who will teach you how to do things your mate used to do? For easy reference, pull together a list of professionals you think you’ll need, like a computer tutor, plumber, locksmith, CPA, electrician, gardener, etc. — for when the time comes.
  17. Come to understand that divorce is a whole life challenge, or as we like to say, “Divorce is a business transaction. How you pick up the pieces and rebuild your life is the mind body challenge.”  Evaluate your financial, legal, practical and emotional questions above and notice how divorce has impacted all aspects of your life.
  18. Try tuning into your body. What is your body telling you about your situation? Are your shoulders locked up near your ears? Do you feel like you are suffocating? Are you experiencing panic attacks or getting sick more than usual? How are you sleeping? Try to find ways to take care of yourself and relieve some of the anxiety before it starts to undermine your health.
  19. Again, forgive yourself if you are panicking or just feeling numb. Your body is trying to communicate with you that “something is not right.” Tell your body you will try to listen more going forward.
  20. Starting now, take notes on when you begin to feel certain pains, aches, and headaches. What are the circumstances leading up to these symptoms?
  21. Go to the doctor and get a full physical if you are overdue.  Review with your doctor your list of issues if you have them, and share insights to your stress. Get your annual mammogram if you are a forty or older woman (and we recommend a 3D mammogram, and if your breasts are dense, a sonogram). If you are a man, when was the last time you went to a doctor? You must take care of yourself because who else is going to?
  22. Be careful how you self-medicate to deal with the stress and aches and trying circumstances you are experiencing.  Numbing yourself could prevent you from being levelheaded as you start to learn what is new and possible for your life.
  23. Watch out for where you vent and be wary of social media. If you say something online, it’s there forever and can be used against you. Same for emails. Before posting or hitting SEND, review what you are saying as if you were a judge. Be very careful.
  24. Find a way to process what you are going through. Are you meeting with a divorce coach or therapist regularly? Are you connecting with your friends? Are you journaling?  Who is keeping you tethered as you go through this roller coaster of pain and upheaval? Often we find solutions or at least new perspectives when we are forced to process out loud or on paper. What works best for you?
  25. To help you feel anchored, get organized. Start evaluating what you do and do not need and begin purging. Organize your important papers and documents, for example, and list all passwords and login instructions to accounts. Keep that newly minted list in a safe place.
  26. Don’t let the negative voices control you. When we are feeling low, it’s easy to let those negative voices grow deafening.“You failed.You are toast. No one will ever love you again.” Listening to those voices only keeps you in a dark place. So, tell them to hush.
  27. Create a budget. It’s important to understand how much you take in and spend each month. In addition to the obvious (rent/mortgage, car payment, utilities) don’t forget to factor in things like dry cleaning, haircuts, coffees, and vacation expenditures, etc.
  28. Face your loneliness. Now that you are no longer under the same roof as your ex, you are likely confronted with empty space. There you are left facing yourself. Take heart, that’s exactly where you are supposed to be. This is often the time you start really processing what role you played in the demise of the relationship, a necessary part to your full divorce recovery. And if you are not feeling grief, be prepared for it to hit you sometime.
  29. When the grief hits you, just be with it. Or make a list of all the things (material and not) you have lost. It surely is a lot. Now that you are looking at the list, give it some attention. Maybe you didn’t love your ex so much in the end. This makes you feel conflicted. So you are not grieving her as much as you are grieving the end of the fantasy, the identity you both built, the loss of what you invested in and co-created. That is a tragic loss. And for some people, we need to really ponder and be with that loss for a while.
  30. Look for Meet Up or support groups for like-minded people. Identify groups that are facilitated by a therapist or coach and be cautious of groups that focus on complaining.
  31. Embrace the discovery process. Now is an opportunity to get comfortable in your new skin — but how can you get comfortable if you don’t even know who you are anymore or what you want?  Get excited, it’s exhilarating to discover what you want and who you are in this next chapter.
  32. Live. Explore. Try things on.  Who do you want to be now that you’ve grown up? If you could do anything, what would that look like? Write down your ideas and see how many you can realize. No more pushing them aside, it’s time to try them out.
  33. Write your divorce story. If you still feel at a loss, you can’t get out of bed, start writing. Begin with your earliest memory of divorce and move into telling the story of your own divorce. What did you already know about divorce when it came up with your spouse? Did you have preconceived notions about what divorce should look like? How has your divorce changed the way you think?
  34. Find a way to exercise everyday so your brain chemistry has a chance to relax and rebuild you. Your primary relationship is with your body, your being. Maybe you cannot get to the gym, but can you make sure you walk every day? The Center for Disease Control recommends 7,000 to 8,000 steps per day to see health benefits. Consider a fitness tracker or app on your phone to help you work up to your goal.
  35. Understand your social landscape is going to change. Sometimes it’s tough when you are recovering from divorce to hang out with the same friends you shared as a couple. Some friends will invite you out and you’ll feel like a third wheel. Other friends don’t know what to do, so they don’t invite you at all. You’ll meet new friends as well. Your social world will experience a bit of a shake up and then it will resettle into place. Be open to the changes.
  36. Open your eyes to new adventures and friends. You may find your interests change or you’ll have a desire to do something you never really thought about before. Perhaps you’ll go to Cuba! Or a new friend will introduce you to rock climbing, or you’ll take your bike out of storage and dust it off.This is a time of exploration.
  37. Reconnect with old friends. As you recover from divorce, you may realize that some of your old friends fell off the radar, perhaps because life got too busy or because your spouse never really got along with them. Don’t you wonder what they are up to these days? Now it’s easier than ever with social media to find those old friends. Surprise yourself and them. Rekindle your connections with those you miss.
  38. Do things alone. Part of your grieving is being alone with yourself and rediscovering you. Welcome chances to dine out alone, travel alone, see movies alone… this is part of understanding the difference between what it is to be lonely vs. alone and being okay with that.
  39. Be sexually educated. A 2010 study of sexual health from Indiana University found the lowest rates of condom use were among people ages 45 and older, because older people may think they cannot get pregnant or are not at risk for STD’s. Yet according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the numbers of older people with HIV has nearly doubled. People aged 55 and older accounted for 26% of all Americans living with diagnosed or undiagnosed HIV infection in 2013. Be safe. Wear a rain jacket.
  40. Recognize the dating world has changed. Don’t let online dating scare you. Connect with someone who can help you with this and who can also laugh with you. Maybe your funny, kind girlfriend can take pictures of you and help you draft your online profile? Go ahead if it feels right. Enjoy it.
  41. Do be careful of your kids in terms of introducing a new person too soon. Remember, your kids are recovering from this divorce, too. They don’t need to be introduced to everyone you have dinner with. Instead, wait until a relationship becomes significant and you think this person might be around awhile. Have an age appropriate conversation with your children: first, to tell them about your new friend, and then to introduce him/her.
  42. Or don’t have a romantic relationship at all. Have you skipped from one relationship to the next your whole entire life? Well, stop. Your job isn’t to scramble to find your next partner if you aren’t ready or don’t want one. Work it and enjoy your independence!
  43. Understand and appreciate you are part of a new world. Divorce is changing. The stigma is losing it’s grip, the landscape is shifting, and it’s for you to determine who you will be. There will be times that you feel a little out of control. With the damp wings of a butterfly drying, you will be a little unstable, but you are coming out of a cocoon.
  44. Stretch yourself. The divorce certainly took you out of your comfort zone in a not so pleasant way, so why not seek ways to stretch yourself that are more fun? Go master the Tango by Air BnB’ing it in Buenos Aires! Go skydiving! Or buy the pickup truck you’ve always wanted and head fly-fishing. Just go.
  45. Allow yourself to trust again. This can be a tough part of your divorce recovery, because surely you’ve been disappointed, hurt, or even crushed along the way. But as you take these steps, you will feel better. You will meet good people and realize that you are able to trust again. You may even open your heart to love again.
  46. Remember opening to love means loving yourself first. It comes full circle. In order to fully recover from your divorce, you must give yourself a chance to grieve, to rebuild, to discover, to heal, and to love.

Whether you are considering divorce or already navigating the experience or its aftermath, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do divorce alone. Smart women around the world have chosen SAS For Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oft times complicated experience of Divorce.